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Question about will, not colon cancer specifically

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I hope this is okay to post about. I need some opinions and I need them from people who are totally non biased. I found out a couple of weeks ago that in Alberta we can do up a will on our own as long as it's completely handwritten. It can't be typed up and just signed. This is ensure that the person actually wrote it up rather than someone else did and got them to sign it.

So, I've been trying to figure out what's fair for our kids. My husband has 3 boys from his first marriage and I have one daughter from my first. They are now all adults.

I'll try to make the history as easy to understand as possible.

My daughter has always lived with us and still does in our basement suite. She's thirty and has a good job. I suspect she's scared to move out and leave me so it's not weird that she's still here. And we have a good relationship with her. She started paying rent as soon as she got her first job and helps us a lot around the house and things like that. Until she was 18 my ex paid $400 a month in child support.

His boys mostly lived with their mom except for a 4 year period where the oldest lived with us. During that time she contributed nothing to his care financially. We've also had the middle son a couple of times when he was a teenager and she paid nothing then, either, and he created a lot of turmoil in the home. My husband paid $1550 a month for the three of them and paid for 3 years after they turned 18 because where we live if a child is still going to school the father still has to pay child support. With all three we found out that his ex would say they were going to school but they actually weren't. None of them finished high school.

I've been with my husband for almost 20 years. During that time he expected me to pay half the bills no matter how hard it was for me. He made substancially more than I did and there were times that it was hard for me. But I did it.

For the past few years since I've been unable to work I haven't contributed half but until the point where I had to stop working I always did. His middle sone moved in with us another time after he was 18 and was never asked to pay rent or anything else. He cause turmoil again and had to be asked to leave again.

So my husband figures that whatever we have when we pass should be divided evenly between the 4 kids. I disagree. I feel like I paid my share even when it was hard and my daughter has done far more for us than his kids ever have from looking after our dogs when we're away or in the hospital, to shovelling snow, to helping with yard work, to all kinds of things. She'll take us out for dinner sometimes. When my husband goes out with his boys he has to pay for everyone. One even had the gall to order two meals because he couldn't decide.

I forgot to mention that his boy's all needed orthodontic work. The orthodontist wouldn't start until someone signed a letter saying they cover anything that wasn't covered by insurance. His ex said she had a job with coverage, so did her girlfriend, and with his it should be fine. So he signed it and within two months neither her or her girlfriend had a job. It cost us $14,000 by the time they were all done. And, of course, the middle boy doesn't look after his teeth so they're in bad shape.

My question is, under these circumstances, I think my daughter should get half and his boys can split the other half. He thinks everyone should get an equal amount. I should add that during a period where he and  had split up he bought a revenue property and rents that out and intends that his boys will get that when he's gone. So they actually get a bit more than my daughter. I have no dowry rights to it. 

Am I wrong in the way I'm thinking? Part of why he thinks that way is because his boys have not really amounted to anything. The oldest finally got his electrician's ticket and is doing okay. The middle one works as a cook so isn't making much money. The youngest isn't working at all right now ad wasn't interested when my daughter tols him about a good paying job where she works. We continue to pay for things for them like if a car is broken down and things like that. The two youngest live at home for free.

Please tell me what's fair in this situation if you can manage to get through this long post. I really don't know if I'm wrong or right and I want to do the right thing. Thank you so much for any thoughts on this, I really appreciate it.


Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 453
Joined: Feb 2016

 Wow. This is a tough one! but, of course, I have an opinion. Please take it as an opinion and nothing more....

i feel like whatever happens... whether you make the most or the least, your wealth (or lack there of) should be equal. It’s a joint venture. You may not have made as much money as your husband but you supported him emotionally and physically (meals, housework, etc) And vice versa.

Bottom line is the children are his and yours.... the wealth should be split in two, his half to his boys and your half to your girl. It should not be based on need. The wealth is split between you and your husband... you can both give whatever you want to whomever you want.

that being said...you worked hard all your life. You don’t know what will happen in the next few years. You may need every penny for yourself. You should not live and save for your children. You should do it for yourself. Your children need to take care of themselves. Besides...eventually you won’t be there to care for them anyway. Your children should not be looking for anything either. If theres something left after you leave this earth, then great. They might get something. 

Is that harsh? I have worked too hard to worry about money. Sure I wish I could leave my son well off but reality is, he has his own family and job and I am not dead yet! Lol. I may need the money.


flutemon's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Jan 2019

It's tough to decide how assets should be left to children.  My wife had a brother and sister.  Her dad was well off and would help each child as needed.  Brother was a mess and was always "borrowing" money.  Sister married well and never had to borrow.  We were in between the 2.  So it was understood that when her dad died, the amount of "loans" would be subtracted from the set amount to equalize.  Apparently his lawyer talked him out of that deal and said that it would cause big problems to leave things unequal.  But leaving equal amounts caused the problems.  Ultimately, it seems that no one is really ever happy about how the inheritance is handled.


Your situation is even harder.  Have you talked to a lawyer to get some help with this?  Maybe there would be a way to set up the inheritance that might look more fair to you.  

Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 453
Joined: Feb 2016

My father did this very thing. He gave me a little money to help me buy my first house. He passed last year and in his will he stated that my share of the inheritance would be reduced by that amount. It was embarrassing to me as no one else know about that help. AND it embarrassed my family.

Financially, I have ok and did not need the money. The situation was just awkward.


Posts: 420
Joined: Apr 2018

I have a very similar situation, husband had 4 kids and I had 2, but he had no relaitonship at all with 2 of them, bare minimum with one other (who is a turmoil causer too) and a good relationship with one. He wants to split everything into 3rds--as he does not feel obligated to leave anything to his 3 kids that he has not had any relationship with (over 20 years) He paid an enormous amount of child support , ortho, med bills, the works and feels no obligation to leave them anything else, of that I am very glad.  My hope is that it will be a very long time before that is a reality!!

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you for your thoughts, I really appreciate your time. It's hard to do the right thing or know what it is. And I don't think my daughter should be shorted becasue she does well for herself. All that means is that she'll do something useful with it. His oldest probably will be responsible, the problem middle child will do soemthing stupid, and the youngest, I'm not sure. My hsuabnd's mom divided up what she left, which was a fairly substancial amount including small apartment buildings, the family home and  some money mostly to my husband's younger brothers and sister. So they're doing great because they're all still married to the same people and not paying child support.

Child support can be a bugger. It enables my husband's ex to mostly not work. She also went around from doctor to doctor to get the middle son deignated as mentally disabled so she could get money from that. If there's a way to squeeze a penny out of the government she knows how and does it. So she basically ruined the middle boy. Who was the crier, the lazy one, the whiner, the liar, all that ugly stuff boys can be plus socially inept and now he thinks that as an adult it's okay because his mom pushed it and when he does something embarassing or stupid he hides behind that. At one point I tried to help him deal with things in a kind way but he totally blew me off. He was also interested in cooking and when I made something he liked I'd tell him how to make it. H'ed interrupt me and tell me how he's a 'purist' and only wants to make things from scratch. Whatever. The thing that got him kicked out of our home was him lying about me every time he was here and trying to turn his dad against me. My husand for some reason thinks he walks on water and would believe him. Which caused a huge rift between us. I stood there and watched the little jerk lie about things I'd supposedly just done. It was quite incredible. He managed to break his mom's relatonships up several times this way.

Anyway, how I feel about him is neither here nor there, it's what's right. And when I think of all the times I had to come up with half the bills no matter what my paycheque was and he was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day at the time, so wastig money, and he enjoyed spending money on himself, I think no way am I subsidizing one of his kids at the expense of my daughter.

When his middle son lived with us for the 4 years I loved having him and I still love him to death. But his mom didn't pay a dime for his care, rarely saw him so I was the one sitting with a heartbroken 10 year old wondering why his mother doesn't love him, trying to make it okay. And when we asked her to pick up a used guitar for him because she lived in the city she brought it to our house and presented it to him as if she'd bought it. And it was me who got up early every morning to take him to guitar classes at his scholl before I went to work.

Okay, enough spewing, I could go on and on.


Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Very tough issues and sorry for that.  I think you should really consult with a lawyer - sucks but one of you will pass first and your assets are mostly joint and the survivor can have a will that does whatever with respect to kids if you leave everything to each other.  I obviously don't know what to tell you, but I do think at least a consult with a lwayer whould be part of your plan, so that whatever you decide you can guarantee that the kids will get what you want them to get.  (Is Texas a "common property" state?  It was when I lived there 35 years ago.  If so that will have some impact on what you can do - whether good or bad I am not sure).

Take care,


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

Relationship issues are never easy, particularly when money/property is involved.

You first need to find out what you CAN do legally.  Things which are jointly held in both names, could automatically go to survivor in some areas.

There is no guarantee with regard to your daughter receiving anything unless you personally designate to her.  If hubby is survivor, he could make a new will without including her.

You need to do what you feel most comfortable with as following your own wishes, just as he will.  I don't think you need to have a joint will.  If it were me I would have a seperate one and let him feel however he wants if/when the time comes to read it.

Just my opinion, hope I didn't confuse the issue.

By the way, you are very fortunate to have such a caring and responsible daughter.

Marie who loves kitties

PS - if you are doing your own handwritten will, take it to a Notary so that your signature is validated and then make several copies, giving the original to a responsible party...not your hubby

Posts: 218
Joined: Jul 2018

This is complicated, and there are no right answers, only opinions.  But here is mine. First, an inheritance is a gift to the kids, your legacy.  I don't think that you can necessarily discount or reduce the inheritance for such things as the amount of child support that was paid or received for the child, or for the cost of braces.  Larger expenditures, such as the downpayment of a house, I would expect to reduce the amount of the inheritance by that amount, so of a "pay back" provision that is reasonable.  Also, I would avoid taking the cost of dinner into account, or day to day things that your daughter does to help. 


1) I support splitting four ways, only if all the assets will be split four ways.  He shouldn't take the rental and give that to his three sons, and then decide that remainder should be split four ways.   But I do like the four way split in concept (but with the issues set out below).

2) But the four-way split can be altered  sometimes.  For children who aren't responsible, the money should be put in a trust so it is not promptly spent.

3) I do think extra can be given to a child who is more involved than those that are distant or non-involved.  If the child did extra things perhaps there should be some reward.  For example, for helping for five years, perhaps the child could get an extra ___ thousand, before the four way split is completed. 

4) Both of you can consider structuring the inheritance so it just isn't wasted and frittered away by those who are not responsible.  Perhaps a trust which provides a downpayment on each child's home, secured by a deed of trust which will repay the trust fund when sold.   Perhaps an annual payment each year.  Perhaps deposited in a retirement fund for the adult children so they don't have to worry about retirement as much, or perhaps in a college fund for either children or grandchildren.  Perhaps in a trust that won't be distributed until the child is 40 or 45 or 50, so that have to acheive on their own, and not just be given cash.  Perhaps in a trust fund that rewards savings.  (i.e. if they save 10,000 or 100,000, they get a distribution from the trust fund.) There are alot of ways to distribute it, but just giving it to kids that are living at home that haven't finished high school is not necessarily a good idea.  The first thing that I would do, is not have the trust fund not distribute any money (except educational costs) until a child has finished college (or perhaps completed a trade school, served in the militiary, etc.)

6)  I am a very responsible professional, who earns a decent salary.  My parents (who are a bit eccentric, I admit) have structured their inheritance as interest only until I turn 65.   They want me to continue working and not live a "life of leisure" on an inheritance.  They are also handling the grandchildren's college funds.

But you defintely need an attorney to assist with this... to make sure it is set up the way that you want it.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

the issue you are questioning only becomes to play if you both happen to pass at the same time. If you are doing joint wills then your share will pass to your husband and vise versa and you can include specific items you wish to leave for your daughter In that scenario.

I do agree with you that half to your daughter and half to the other 3 if you want to be generous. But you really should speak to an attorney as there are many different terminology like per stirpes and such. Simple wills, trusts, assets

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

You're right. Whoever survives will be the one to decide but I want my wishes known. And I think if I go first my husband will give my daughter whatever her portion is right away because he'll sell the house and liquidate some things.


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